After weeks of pledging to put forth a fully costed election platform, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives have published a detailed list of their campaign promises, but without providing a full fiscal plan.
In “For The People: A Plan for Ontario,” the party pledges billions in tax cuts for families and businesses, along with other spending, including reducing the cost of gas by 10 cents per litre and a $5-billion investment in transit.
While the plan includes price tags for individual initiatives, it doesn’t indicate what the total cost of the pledges would be, or present a multi-year fiscal outlook. Campaign officials wouldn’t say if more information would be released.
When asked whether the information posted online on Wednesday was the party’s official costed plan, a spokesperson for the PCs told Global News: “This is our plan for the people. That’s the plan, throughout the campaign, this is what we’ve compiled.”
To pay for its plan, the party has said it would cut waste, audit government spending and save $270-million by cutting a business grants program, the Jobs and Prosperity Fund.
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Party leader Doug Ford has said a Tory government would run deficits but balance the books before the end of its term. A spokesman said the party, if elected, was committed to doing so “as quickly as we can.”
“We do not know the state of Ontario’s finances and anyone who tells you they do is lying to you,” he said.
Christine Van Geyn, Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said Ford needs to explain how much money he’s going to spend and how he’s going to balance the budget “in a more specific way than just saying ‘efficiencies’.”
“There are two ways that you can come up with that money, and it’s cutting things or increasing taxes, and he’s said he’s not going to do either,” she said.
“They really need to explain where the money’s going to come from if they’re committing to new spending and new tax cuts.”
She also took aim at the Liberal and NDP plans, saying the party leaders deserve equal criticism for putting forth plans that rely on debt to finance their promises.
“That’s not actually responsible financing; that’s just saying how much debt you’re going to add in five years, or four years,” she said.
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In a statement on Wednesday, the Ontario NDP claimed the PCs were “hiding a costed platform.”
“Ford’s un-costed excuse for a plan does not include a fiscal framework, or a timeline for balancing the provincial budget,” the statement read.
Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne said the Tory plan was not a costed platform and she claimed a PC government would have to cut projects and services.
“It’s not coherent and I really think that they’re not quite sure … how to talk about the fact that all of the things that Doug Ford has said would add up to a $40-billion hole.”
With files from Jessica Patton, Global News